The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 2, 2013

Retiring teachers head toward new chapter in life

OTTUMWA — Cookies, hugs and a few tears marked the departure of 14 educators during an open house Wednesday.

Nurses, a custodian and other specialists who impact children through a kind word or helping them get to the right class joined teachers at Ottumwa High School. They were joined by family members and colleagues offering both congratulations and support: Teachers say retirement is bitter sweet.

There are positive and negative aspects to leaving the job.

“I will terribly miss my students and my staff I work with,” said Jan Koehn, a first-grade teacher with three decades in Ottumwa.

That was the number one regret cited by teachers.

“Kids have their own unique way of speaking,” said Judy Church, who has taught for more than 30 years. “I’ll miss that. I enjoyed being able to listen to them.”

A second-grade teacher, Church said she’ll be relieved, however not to suffer the self-imposed pressure of questioning her own decisions. She’d ask herself regularly whether what she had planned would allow her to be doing what was best for kids.

“I won’t miss that stress,” she said. “I wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

She’s always encouraged kids to do their best, and she hopes that pushing them to succeed won’t cause children to remember her as “a pushy old witch.”

Koehn said she’ll travel, visiting family around the country. When her husband retires, maybe they’ll travel farther. There’s another way she intends to relax, too.

“I’m going to take up quilting again. I’d been so busy,” she said. “I haven’t quilted in 12 years.”

School Superintendent Davis Eidahl and school board president Caroll Mitchell thanked the teachers and support staff Wednesday, and wished them the best in their retirement. Eidahl said their retirement is bittersweet for the school system, too. Between them, he said, the outgoing group represents 355 years of service to students in the Ottumwa school district.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0417 OTT Saving Center color photo -T -L -M Hedrick building has friends HEDRICK — The community wants a civic center, and they've been willing to work for it. "I'd say we have 15 to 25 volunteers each time," Tommy Smith of Hedrick said. "These are all good people." Smith was volunteering his services at the Easter Brunch

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Southern Iowa farmers preparing for planting OTTUMWA — Even though the winter seemed to linger like Iowa was going through an ice age and cold and wet weather has highlighted the early spring, farmers are starting to get out to their fields to put down fertilizer and get fields ready for planti

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carrying bookbags a balancing act OTTUMWA — Permission slips. Notes from teachers. School activity announcements, birthday invitations, report cards and homework to sign. Kids bring home a lot of stuff. But is it done fairly? The school board this week was asked by ranking members of

    April 16, 2014

  • Van Buren supervisors deny hog confinement permit application KEOSAUQUA — A proposed swine building in Chequest Township didn’t receive a seal of approval from Van Buren County Board of Supervisors. Supervisors voted Monday to recommend to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to deny the permit. Supervisor

    April 16, 2014

  • 0417 OTT Beth Howard bw cover -L -T -M 'Ms. American Pie' tours with her new book ELDON — With many hours and countless miles on her RV "The Beast," Eldon's pie lady, Beth Howard, is celebrating the release of her new book with a tour of southwestern states. Howard's second book, "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bol

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Van Buren to share FFA with Harmony KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren Community School Board approved a recommendation from its administration to share the ag program with Harmony for the 2014-15 school year. The decision means that Van Buren students would travel to Harmony to receive ag instruct

    April 16, 2014

  • Attorney withdraws after client disappears OTTUMWA — Authorities are still looking for an Ottumwa man who didn’t show up for court proceedings. When they find him, he’ll need a new attorney. Jacob Nordyke faces charges of interference with official acts and possession of drug paraphernalia. H

    April 16, 2014

  • Waste Management wants to stay in Keosauqua KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management told the city of Keosauqua that it was not interested in ending the contract it has for solid waste and recycling services it provides to the city. A representative told the city mayor that it intends to fulfill the contr

    April 16, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition